Updated 4:10 p.m.
An attorney and advocate for victims of sexual assault in the U.S. military has joined the Washington law firm of Katz, Marshall & Banks.
Solo practitioner Susan Burke, known for her work civil rights and whistleblower work, moves to Katz as of counsel to the firm. Burke, whose solo office was in Washington, practices in areas that include human rights, employment and disability discrimination, election law, environmental torts, and pharmaceutical and defense contractor fraud.
Burke is currently representing a woman at the U.S. Naval Academy who claimed she was raped by three midshipmen. She has also represented former detainees from the Abu Ghraib prison in suits against the government.
In an interview, partner Debra Katz described Burke as "a tremendous, gutsy lawyer."
"Susan is a perfect addition to our firm," Katz said. "She, like us, feels passionate about fighting for underdogs and people who have been abused."
Katz Marshall is an employment, whistleblower and civil rights firm founded in 2006. Katz said that she first became aware of Burke's work while attending the Ridenhour Prizes gala. One of the winners was the documentary film The Invisible War, which tackled the issue of rape in the military.
After the awards, Katz watched the movie, which highlights some of Burke's work. Soon afterwards, Katz said she reached out to Burke to learn more about the legal work she does. "I felt very, very moved," Katz recalled. Eventually, Burke decided to join Katz.
Moving forward, Katz said Burke would likely focus on representing whistleblowers in the pharmaceutical and defense contractor industries.
In an interview, Burke called the move to Katz Marshall a “match made in heaven,” and added that she would likely continue to do more work in the pharmaceutical industry.
“In the past I had done a significant amount of defense-side work for pharmaceuticals,” Burke said. “I will continue to grow the False Claims Act of the pharmaceutical side.”